The Philosophy and Opinions of Bushido Garvey

The boom-bap analysis, reflection, and expression of an educator.

When Passion Suffices, the Work Suffers

“Where it is you at? Is it where your supposed to be?/ Or maybe not, so you decide to listen not so close to me?/ Yo it really sucks that that’s what we as humans chose to be/ It really puts a limit to personal goals achieved/”

~Bushido Garvey, Highs and Lows (To Unfold), Nugzky Garvey

 

How different do you think our world would be if every idea you’ve ever communicated was followed through? It is safe to say that many of us have intentions to be better people, better professionals, and better activists, but there can often be a gap between what we say we’re going to do, and what actually happens.

 

 

I was talking to a recent graduate from Northeast/Northwest at Douglass who is trying to implement a district-wide anti-bullying program. Afraid  I wouldn’t follow through, I loaned my will and service out to her anyway. After not hearing from her for a while, I ran into her at school and she confessed that’s it’s been hard to contact me and give me tasks and updates because of work, school, and life in general. It was fascinating watching her “reflectify” (reflect + testify) about the realities of having the desire to do something, but frequently not having it translate into action. I listened without judgement, and with extreme relatability.

 

 

When you are trying to lead yourself or others to accomplish an overall goal, it requires tons of commitment and discipline. I have had to learn the hard way that passion for an idea or goal often isn’t enough to achieve success, especially if the goal is complex or time consuming. Often times in “educactivism” we have a burning passion to change complex things (I.e. “I wanna turn my negative school culture into a positive one.”) but may have unexercised skills that are required for the job to be accomplished. More importantly, these unexercised skills may be totally perpendicular to your current character  and aesthetic view of the social change you perceive in your mind. For example, people like myself  who predominantly operate out of their right brain in regards to becoming a better change agent can be very creative, expressive, and engaging. However, if you were to ask me to organize an event, study data, or have a political discussion regarding concrete logistical legalese, I was totally screwed. I would still commit to these types of necessary activities, but since they weren’t natural skills for me it became all too easy to put  them off in my already busy schedule. At first, I chalked it up to “hey! That’s my weakness, it is what it is,” but accepting this ultimately condemns and stagnates the work, and doesn’t give me the impetus to break the low confidence that enables inconsistency. Instead, embracing the growth mindset and abandoning the fixed mindset (shout outs to Carol Dweck), empowers me and could empower others with similar dispositions to adopt skill sets and disciplines that will help our idealism fully convert into the fruit you know it should transform into.

 

 

 

It isn’t just academic skill sets that stagnate our dreams for a better world, but character disciplines as well. For example, there’s this student at Douglass who is about to do a report on Malcolm X. He told me this, and I told him that I have the Malcolm X graphic biography at home and I’ll bring it in. This graphic biography would be of great assistance for this young man who struggles with reading and learned helplessness. This was two weeks ago, and that boy still ain’t get his book. I have been working on this habit for sometime, so I often prevent this, but there are still epic fails. While working on this habit of not following through on even basic things, I began to analyze whether or not my complacency with these types of fails was fueled by my good intentions. In other words, was a part of me okay with my flaws because the passion for my job made up for it? When meditating on that, one realizes that just because you may have passion for something it doesn’t mean you aren’t being careless. As I commit to being more organized, selfless, and manage time better, more emails will be answered, more meetings will be attended, more  initiatives will be implemented, and more students will receive their Malcolm X comics!

 

 

 

At the end of the day, those who are fighting to improve something, especially those in education, need to understand that passion does not always equate to devotion. In fact, it often doesn’t, especially when what we are passionate about causes us to  confront our IMG_0944intellectual and disciplinary weaknesses. Passion is nothing but fertile soil, and fertile soils doesn’t always stay fertile. It takes consistent, thoughtful, and often uncomfortable gardening for that passion to play an essential role in producing new life. Since it is far from the only role, we must not be afraid of developing the undeveloped capabilities that lay dormant. These abilities, coupled with the passion and abilities we already demonstrate,  will empower leadership and  allow our visions to be realized in their entirety. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party to attend. Here I come TAC family! Peace and progress.

 

 

“Well am I willing to make bends (Benz) like Mercedes/ And still bring heat like pens in the 80s?/ We learn to tell time at 6 years old/ But passively let time tell us when to grow./”

~Bushido Garvey, Highs and Lows (To Unfold), Nugzky Garvey

 

 

 

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bushidogarvey • December 7, 2015


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